On Saturday 27th April 2019, the Belfast Sliders travelled to ALSAA in Dublin to attend their first ever Softball Ireland Brian Walshe Cup. Making the early start to Dublin was Captain Marian joined once again by Vice Captain Jonny and regular Sliders Tim, Kirsty, Jay, Emma, Michal, Laura and Andrew. Joining the Sliders for the day out were Bangor Buccaneers team-mates Dave and Kevin.
The morning started with moderate rain and heavy gusts of wind, hampering Jonny’s attempts to get the ball over the plate. Despite this, the Sliders’ managed to win their first two games easily: first against Castlenock, winning 15-1; and then against Galway Tribes, winning 9-4. Unfortunately, the winning streak was not to continue.
As the wind started to die down and the sun made its appearance, the Sliders began a less favourable streak at the Brian Walshe Cup. The next game was lost to the Hippities, although only by 1 run to 2. The last game in the group stage was against the eventual tournament runners-up, 2Pak, who won out over the Sliders 10 runs to 2. These scores left the Sliders in eighth place overall (out of 15), putting them into the bowl championship semi-final.
The next two games decided the Sliders’ fate for the day. In their semi-final game, the team faced the Renegades. Despite ranking higher than the Sliders in the group stage, the Belfast team managed to beat the Renegades by keeping them zero runs to 7. This put the Sliders into the bowl final against the Thunderbolts. After a thrilling game, where the Sliders were at one point seven runs down to the Dublin team, a superb rally in the third inning helped them win 15 – 13.
The highs for the day include: multiple home runs from temporary Sliders Dave and Kevin; impressive home runs from both Tim and Emma; impossibly accurate pitching from Jonny in gusty conditions; and an excellent run-down involving Dave, Marian and Andrew during the Bowl Final.
The next event on the Sliders’ caldendar will be the commencement of the Softball Ulster League on Sunday 12th May / Monday 13th May 2019.